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Salter statues unveiled in Bermondsey

05 December 2014
Salter Statue Labour councillors attended the unveiling of the new Salter statues in Bermondsey, to commemorate Alfred and Ada Salter, who were famous for their community work in the slums of Bermondsey in the early 1900s.

The original statue of Dr Alfred Salter was stolen from Bermondsey in 2011. Since then the Salter Statues Campaign group have worked hard to raise the funds to pay for the replacement statue of Dr Salter and a new statue of his wife Ada Salter. The campaign group raised £60,000, which Southwark’s Labour Council then match funded to pay for the two new statues, which now sit alongside an existing statue of Alfred and Ada’s daughter, Joyce and her cat.

Alfred and Ada Salter were legendary even in their own lifetimes, and their work for the community was internationally acclaimed. Dr Salter pioneered free health care and created an ‘NHS before the NHS’, bringing free, state-of-the-art medical facilities into the slums of Bermondsey. Ada Salter helped thousands of local people, especially for young working women, with her social clubs, and helped regenerate Bermondsey's slums by covering them with gardens, trees, flowers, children’s playgrounds and open spaces for music and sports. Ada become Mayor of Bermondsey in 1922, making her the first female London mayor.
The unveiling ceremony included speeches from Labour Leader Cllr Peter John, Cllr Neil Coyle and Cllr Stephanie Cryan, who has a personal connection to the Salters - Dr Salter was Cllr Cryan’s grandmother's doctor when she was a young girl growing up in Bermondsey.

South Bermondsey ward councillor and Treasurer of the Salter Statues campaign, Cllr Catherine Dale, thanked volunteers and contributors for their overwhelming support for the campaign. Cllr Dale said:

“I have been overwhelmed by the number of contributions from people far and wide to raise the money for these statues. People who live nearby, people who walked past the statue and were devastated at the theft, local businesses and relatives of the Salters all expressed their support financially. Sheila Taylor, trustee of the campaign wrote to Trade Unions, Quakers and peace campaigning organisations - all close to the Salters' hearts and values.  

“Learning about the Salters’ commitment to the Bermondsey area and the difference they made as citizens and Labour politicians inspired me to become more involved in politics. So it was wonderful to be part of the team that proudly unveiled the statues of Alfred, Ada and Joyce on Sunday, now in their rightful place on the riverside with an excellent board with information about the work they did to improve Bermondsey and Rotherhithe 100 years ago.”

“I would like thank everyone who has made this possible and I would encourage people to take a walk to Bermondsey Wall West and see the Salter statues for themselves. They are a testament to the difference people can make to the area they live in.”


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